idols in the bible
The Life of Faith

How the Worship of Idols in the Bible Still Influences Today’s Faith

The worship of idols in the Bible was one of the pervasive and problematic issues throughout the history of humankind, luring hearts and minds away from the worship of the Almighty, holy God. All of humanity was created to worship the Lord. Within every person is the innate and immutable desire for a spiritual connection, but the enemy has twisted and manipulated that desire within people to redirect their worship to anyone or anything other than God.

The idols in the Bible range in nature and form, and are expressed differently between cultures, but they all have the same root – The Adversary of God. Isaiah noted that the enemy of God would desire to be like him saying, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:14) In every way throughout the ages, the enemy has tried to lure hearts from God because what he really wants the most is your worship.

Even within the body of Christ, Satan continues with the same tactics he used to lure people to worship idols in the Bible. Some people still worship the sun, moon and stars and others worship carved statues and idols, but the true people of God would never do that. In order for idolatry to work among the body of Christ, the enemy makes it look… godly.

Idols in the Bible and Idolatry Today Have the Same Roots

Because you were made to worship, you will worship someone or something even if you don’t realize it. If you are not building your faith upon the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ, and staying in His presence through the connection of worship, you’re still worshipping – you’re just not worshipping God.

Because the enemy is jealous for your praise and worship, he will try to keep you apart from God’s presence in true worship using things that seem harmless or practical like your career, your family, your friendships, your hopes and dreams or even your ministry. If that doesn’t work, he’ll increase the pressure and try to keep you trapped in your trauma and pain, unforgiveness and bitterness, drama and troubles.

If you are not building your faith upon the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ, and staying in His presence through the connection of worship, you’re still worshipping – you’re just not worshipping God.

~Alicia Purdy

Your life’s journey will be filled with plenty of trials, but worship is a weapon of spiritual victory and Satan knows that. He will exploit every weakness if you’re not strong in your faith. In fact, the body of Christ is filled with people who lift their hands and sing together, but Jesus said, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. In vain they do worship Me…” (Matthew 15:7-9 MEV)

Idolatry within the church is hiding in plain sight, but alive and well and it is of the same spirit that drove people to worship idols in the Bible – the spirit of the Anti-Christ power that has sought to exalt himself “against the knowledge of God” from the very beginning.

1. Idols Are Brought to Life by the Spiritually Dead

“[The idols of the nations are] idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak; eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they cannot hear; noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but they cannot feel; feet, but they cannot walk; neither can they speak with their throat. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.” (Psalm 115:4-8)

In Judges 6, Gideon tore down the physical idols that belonged to his family as an act of loyalty to the Lord and this was a deeply significant act because in those days household idols were passed down from father to son. This means that Gideon tore down the inheritance that his father planned to give him in order to let the Lord give him an inheritance.

Stories of idols in the Bible abound, but God’s chosen people always worship only Him with intention and great dedication, and always take His side in battle. Moses faced the same issue after the Israelites crafted the golden calf, crying out, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side, come to me!” while exacting God’s righteous punishment for sin upon the idol worshippers. God is jealous for your worship, so is Satan.

One of the most significant things you can do in your walk with the Lord is to let Him show you what your idols are, and also what your “father’s idols” are and how they may be hindering what He wants to do. They obviously won’t look like idols in the Bible, but if you don’t have a life centered around the worship of God, it’s centered around the worship of something or someone else. Next? It’s time to tear them down.

2. The Spiritually Alive Worship the Living God

The Lord told Gideon: “…Tear down your father’s Baal altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this stronghold [and] offer another bull as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole that you will cut down.” (Judges 6:25-26 MEV)

Jesus warned that worshipping God alone would cause division in families (Matt. 10:35) and it does! Plenty of people had to destroy idols in the Bible, but they did it out of a fierce loyalty to the Lord. It is no different today. Gideon had to walk through it as well, but confronting his family about their idols was a necessary experience for the battles the Lord knew he’d win in the future.

Anything that is given priority, time, intention, loyalty and adoration over that which is given first to God is a form of idolatry. This is what ensnares Christians who love the Lord, but don’t spend meaningful time in His presence in worship, in His Word, and communing with Him in prayer. If the Holy Spirit convicts you about areas of your life He is jealous for, it’s time to build and altar and sacrifice them.

Thought for Today: The Idols in the Bible Were Never Truly Alive

Part of everyone’s faith journey to victory and freedom in Christ will include confronting those “idols” of addiction, old ways of thinking, religious oppression, disapproval, control, and even misguided good intentions. They don’t have to be as blatant as idols in the Bible were, but the consequences are the same – a heart that is slowly lured away from the vital connection to God’s spirit that regular, personal worship and praise create.

What Gideon did wasn’t easy, but it was necessary because the Lord wanted to show Gideon that:

1) His true inheritance wasn’t from his earthly father, but from his Heavenly Father,

2) He would build an altar to God from those “former things” and worship God for the new thing He was about to do!!

Seek the Lord for what family strongholds, idols, generational demonic influences and familiar spirits could be trying to influence you or lure your heart away from the desire to worship God. If the Lord shows you areas of idolatry in your life, you have a choice to make, as Gideon did: Confront or continue on. God has something powerful in mind for you and by honoring Him first in all things and you’ll show Him – and yourself – that you’re ready for the next step in the season He is preparing.

Resources to Help You Grow in Strength and Wisdom

“Tearing Down the Asherah Poles for God’s Glory”

“3 Ways Jesus Christ is the Rock of Salvation that Cannot be Moved”

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Way of the Worshipper on Amazon – and AVAILABLE NOW you can also purchase The Way of the Worshipper: A Devotional Workbook for deeper study, personal examination and spiritual growth!

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